Spare Parts

April 20, 2011

Photo courtesy
In this endearing short poem by Californian Trish Dugger, we can imagine “what if?” What if we had been given “a baker’s dozen of hearts?” I imagine many more and various love poems would be written. Here Ms. Dugger, Poet Laureate of the City of Encinitas, makes fine use of the one patched but good heart she has. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

Spare Parts

We barge out of the womb
with two of them: eyes, ears,

arms, hands, legs, feet.
Only one heart. Not a good

plan. God should know we
need at least a dozen,

a baker’s dozen of hearts.
They break like Easter eggs

hidden in the grass,
stepped on and smashed.

My own heart is patched,
bandaged, taped, barely

the same shape it once was
when it beat fast for you.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2006 by Trish Dugger. Reprinted from Magee Park Poets: Anthology 2007, No. 18, Friends of the Carlsbad City Library, 2006, by permission of Trish Dugger. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

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  1. What a great poem. I just sat here at my desk at work and read it out loud to myself a half-dozen times. It's so true! It makes me wonder what else we could possibly use a dozen of. A dozen brains, maybe? Or maybe a dozen heaping doses of compassion. Who knows. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think we have only the one heart because of its great capacity to give, forgive, love, change, care and understand. One is enough.

    Brains on the other hand........

  3. Loved it, Kathy. I actually signed up for American Life in Poetry thanks to your recommendation last year, and I've enjoyed it so much since then. :)

  4. "Weread"--Glad you liked the poem. I agree that we could use a few more brains and more compassion, too.

  5. Laure--What a beautiful thought! We don't need more than one heart because the one we have is enough.

  6. Meredith--I'm so glad you've enjoyed the poems and signed up with American Life in Poetry. I think the poems they choose and send out are very easy to understand and enjoy and I love getting them.

  7. Lovely poem! And perfect for this weekend. Sadly I am not a good poetry reader but I do enjoy them when bloggers share them! :) Have a really great Easter weekend!

  8. Thanks, Danielle--hope your weekend is great, too. Somehow, one poem at a time is less intimidating, I think.